Well folks, May Day weekend is almost upon us and despite the recent cooler climes we’ve all been exposed to over the last little while, I’m told that warmer weather is on its way, so I thought it was the perfect time for a brief garden-related post. Specifically, I want to share some ideas with you on how you can spend some time over the long weekend getting your outdoor patio area or yard summer-ready. As long as it’s been given a quick clean up and the boring jobs such as power washing slabs and giving the lawn its first cut are out of the way, these are the fun touches you can accomplish in time for your first al fresco soiree with friends or simply a glass of vino and a book on a clear evening. Aah, how I love summer!
In early 2016, Instagram changed its algorithm, i.e. the way it chooses to display your personal feed, so that rather than presenting users with a chronological list of posts (the whole point of the ‘insta’ bit!), the algorithm organises your feed based on “the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post”.
In a nutshell, Instagram now decides on what it thinks you’d like to see in your feed, a lot like the way Facebook has been operating for some time. Many Instagrammers, including myself, have been struggling with this new algorithm, noticing more people following then immediately unfollowing them (the sure sign an insta-bot is involved somewhere) and not seeing some of their favourite feeds appear at the top of the page, literally for months!
I recently read an Instagram post by a fellow blogger, Bee, who blogs over at Queenbeady, about how she’s plain fed up with all this fake-followers-on-Instagram business and she urged fellow ‘grammers to share their favourite feeds from any sphere of interest, be it homes and interiors, lifestyle, nature, food, gardening, anything. I discovered some fabulous accounts that I didn’t know existed, but I simply have too many personal favourites to share on one Instagram post, so I thought why not share my own favourites on the blog?
Keeping to the homes and interiors theme, here is a rundown of the Instagram accounts I think you should check out today, which I have organised depending on the interior ‘look’ you’re into… starting with modern country, moving to scandi, then onto a more eclectic mix of styles and finishing with coastal style.
…be prepared for a huge dose of pure loveliness and incredible home inspiration!
With Easter just a week away, all thoughts of Winter are now far behind us and Spring has truly sprung, with many of us refreshing our home interiors with new accessories and getting out into the garden for some much needed outdoor time. Perhaps you’ve swapped out the faux fur throws for lightweight colourful striped cottons or packed away the fairy lights with the onset of lighter evenings, but have you considered those little additional touches with a fun, Easter theme?
I was delighted to be invited along on an Easter Home Blog Hop by the lovely Carly who blogs over at A Cup Full of Glitter. Together, a handful of us have put together some Easter touches to our homes which we’d like to share with you. At the bottom of my post, you’ll be able to hop over to another super-creative blogger’s Easter home!
Now, I appreciate not everyone is as into decorating their homes for Easter as perhaps they are for Christmas or even Hallowe’en, but there is a fast growing trend for colourful Easter trees, wreaths and decorated branches becoming the norm in our homes. With a little thought and without having to step anywhere near a discount store’s Easter goody aisle, you can add some delicate, stylish, details to your home that welcome in the new Spring season and cheer things up a bit.
I was recently asked by TK Maxx to have a look at their Easter offering in the homewares department and as I always enjoy working with them, I thought I’d take a look. Needless to say, I had lots of fun choosing a few accessories that I will definitely be using in my own home this Easter and hopefully beyond… here are my favourite pieces which I want to share with you lovely people. (more…)
I recently took it upon myself to give our front door a new lease of life with a lick of paint. Since we moved into our house just over a year ago now, the door has been a shade of pale mushroom – not exactly an offensive colour, but just lacking in a bit of personality. So, I thought it was about time we added our stamp to the front of the house. Who doesn’t love a dose of kerb appeal as they approach their house from the street?!
I had always envisaged painting the front door a gorgeous, deep navy (i.e. something like this), however we are trying to stick to a budget whilst we go about updating and redecorating the house, so head ruled over heart and I resorted to using up a tin of another (still gorgeous) Farrow & Ball colour I had leftover from a little upcycling project I completed last year. The shade is called Stiffkey Blue, a pretty well known paint colour, thanks to the trend for ‘going dark’ in our interiors that’s all over Pinterest these days.
In typical Farrow & Ball fashion, Stiffkey Blue is described as being ‘naturally dramatic’ and is named after a north Norfolk beach where the mud is this particular shade of blue. Our house was built in the mid ’30s and the front door is original to it, so a lick of paint in what I would term a quite traditional, yet contemporary, shade, would be just what it needed to lift it a little into the present day. In addition, the face of our house is covered in a trailing ivy which turns a beautiful shade of russet red in late summer through to Autumn and I reckoned this shade of blue would look stunning against it – time will tell!
I thought I would guide you briefly through the steps I took to paint the door, because a good old DIY how-to is always helpful, especially at this time of year, when many of us are turning our attention to Spring jobs outdoors.
If you’ve been anywhere near a homewares shop or interiors magazine recently, you’ll have surely noticed the HUGE trend for all things tribal that’s been making its way from the catwalks and into our homes.
Fabrics are awash with African prints in earthy tones of rust, ochre and bronze, ceramics are emblazoned with painted tribal patterns ranging from Aztec to Ikat and texture is everywhere, with bamboo, rattan, roughened wood and hessian tying the whole look together. In fact, you could say this theme is more akin to a nomadic, world traveller trend, with inspiration taken from anywhere between the South American desert (think Aztec prints on woven throws) to the streets and souks of deepest Morocco (think intricately decorated brass lanterns and bejewelled frames and glassware).
So, with many stores on the High Street and the major supermarkets channelling this look through their Spring/Summer ’17 homeware collections, it’s easy to become carried away with it all and buy tribal/nomadic/ethnical everything, but like other super trends that have come and gone before, the trick is to choose wisely … only buy what you love, select pieces that will fit with your particular decor style and aim to buy items that can be easily swapped out when you become tired of the look. Oh, we’re so fickle, aren’t we?!
If you’ve been following the blog lately, you’ll know that over the past few weeks we’ve had the amazing opportunity of working with IKEA on their ‘Win at Sleeping’ campaign, which runs until the end of March.
The campaign is aimed at improving the nation’s quality of sleep by encouraging us all to make a few small changes to how we prepare for sleep. This can be anything from creating a calm, cosy and restful bedtime environment to adjusting our personal sleeping habits to ensure a full and undisturbed night’s slumber.
I met with IKEA back in February to discuss my own family’s sleep issues and they were able to recommend some strategies and products for us to try, with a view to helping us improve on several sleep-related areas. If you’d like to see the products we chose to try out, you can read up about it here!
Now that we’ve been using the products for a month, I wanted to update you on how we’ve got on, as well as take a quick look at some other IKEA products you might want to consider trying out yourself.
With Mothers Day just over a week away, I figured a little gift guide might come in handy for some of you. It can be daunting trying to think up an original gift idea for that very special lady in our lives; something that is both personal to your mum and properly shows how much you appreciate everything she does for you. Often it’s a case of picking up a scented candle, some flowers or expensive chocs at the last minute, and very nice though these treats are, I thought it would be fun to look at a few alternative gift ideas, each costing no more than a fiver.
I was therefore delighted when the kind folk over at TK Maxx sent me a gift card recently to spend in-store on Mothers Day gift ideas. I have made no secret before of just how much of a TK Maxx fan I am and after a very enjoyable wander around the store, I chose a handful of goodies which I think make quite unique gifts, so if you’re struggling on the present front, have a read for some last minute inspiration…
I was lucky to recently experience the sights and scenes of Qatar’s capital city, Doha, when I went to visit my brother and his family there at the beginning of March. Having never travelled to the Middle East before, it was a totally new experience for me and one which I thought I’d share with you here today.
I managed to take in some of the amazing architecture, interiors and culture during the few days I was staying in the city, thanks to my wonderful tour guide a.k.a. my big brother, so I’ve pulled together a few shots of things that particularly caught my eye, from beautifully tiled pavements to those towering skyscrapers so typical of a fast-growing, modern city in this part of the world…
If you’ve been following the blog lately, both here and over on my Instagram feed, you’ll know I’ve been working with IKEA on their Win at Sleeping campaign. With the aim of helping us solve our sleep issues and, in turn, our health and wellbeing, the campaign is centred around what small changes we can make at home to improve our nighttime routine, sleeping habits and general sleep preparation.
As I talked about in my first post in this series last week, we have worked with IKEA to identify our own family’s sleep problems and in order to try to solve them, we will be trying out some IKEA products over the coming weeks. We were very excited to take delivery of the products at the beginning of this week and after lots of flat pack fun in the ensuing days, I can finally show you what we chose to try out in the hope of better sleep preparation and comfort ahead…
I don’t know about you, but these cold, dark mornings are making me feel really lazy and lethargic when it comes to getting out of my warm bed at the start of the day. I’ve also never been that good at getting myself organised and off to bed early during the week; the draw of on-demand telly whilst cocooned in a thick blanket on the couch, being my particular downfall. Who’s with me on this? Or perhaps you find yourself scrolling through Pinterest, searching for the answer to your dream kitchen cupboard colour – been there? Thought so. We are all depriving ourselves of wholesome sleep for every minute we waste on our tablets or phones when it’s past our bedtime, and in the morning when the alarm goes off, we pay for it.
I was therefore really excited to be contacted by the lovely folk at IKEA, asking me to work with them on their Win at Sleeping campaign, which you may have noticed recently on TV and in the press. It’s no secret that as a nation, we aren’t great sleepers, with many of us struggling to get a decent eight hours’ kip on a regular basis. The fast pace of modern life, along with the addictive pull of ever present smartphones and tablets with their stimulating blue screens, is certainly a major contributing factor, however many of our sleep problems have startlingly simple roots, such as inadequate sleep preparation, bad sleeping habits or a poorly organised bedroom environment.
IKEA are determined to promote better sleep for all of us and for good reason, too. There are countless benefits to be had from sleeping well, including better mood, raised energy levels, improved productivity at work and school, as well as positive health effects, such as improved memory, a sharper mind and lower stress levels. And the best thing about it? It only takes making a few small changes to guarantee ‘The Wonderful Everynight’ that we all need…